Harmful foods for animals at Christmas

Potential dangers to your animals at Christmas

Harmful foods for animals at Christmas

Having a good and safe time at Christmas & New Year with your animal

Christmas a time for celebrating.  However, don’t forget some animals may be anxious and distressed about the noise and people in your home. Always provide a quiet, safe place for them and provide distractions such as new toy to help them to relax.   

Please be aware of some dangers around the festive season:

Chocolate, mince pies, onions, garlic, sweet & spicy things can cause digestive problems, pain and sometimes be fatal to your furry companion.  It is not only chocolate that can cause problems if consumed. Some sweets and peanut butter contain artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, which can cause blood glucose to drop resulting in the animal collapsing.  Also, most sweets can cause a laxative effect, particularly in dogs, and results in presents on the kitchen floor that aren’t really asked for...

Animals can suffer heart arrhythmias, tremors, seizures and even fatalities, after consuming alcohol. Keep your half empty tins or glasses out of reach as some animals love the taste.  Milk or cream-based drinks can be attractive to animals, please be mindful and keep out of reach.

After digesting nuts, dogs may suffer from a variety of symptoms, including weakness, overheating and vomiting. Veterinary treatment may be needed within 12 hours after eating nuts if the dog deteriorates. 

Raw Hide is both toxic and dangerous and do not improve dental hygiene. Rawhide chews start out hard, but as your dog chews is it gets softer. By that point, it is nothing more than a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard, offering no benefits for your dog.  

Whilst those pleading eyes are difficult to resist and therefore very tempting to treat your animals, it is safest to stick to their normal diet, as any major change in diet can cause intestinal upsets such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Any food high in fat or sugar, including table scraps and even festive pet treats can prove a little too much to a sensitive stomach. Be extra careful with leftover Christmas dinner as poultry bones splinter and can lead to mouth injuries or choking.

Plants like Amaryllis, Poinsettias, Holly berries, Mistletoe and Yew are all irritants and potentially toxic to your animals if digested, the most common signs seen include drooling, mouth sores, vomiting and diarrhoea. Even drinking the water from the base of your Christmas tree can cause your animal health problems. 

Christmas lights, tinsel, ribbons and electrical cables that teething puppies and cats like to play with or chew are at risk from burns to the mouth and other signs relating to electrocution that could have fatal consequences.

Whether using for hanging cards, decorations or wrapped around your turkey, string can be a serious hazard to animals if it gets trapped inside their intestines and may require surgery to be removed. Cats love to play with string and dogs really like the meaty flavoured string from your turkey. Please ensure you dispose of all string.

Parts from children’s toys can be very dangerous to animals. Dogs have a habit of picking up small toys. Some pieces may pass through if small enough and round but can be deadly if they are larger than the size of the animal’s intestines as they can cause intestinal blockages; or parts that have sharp edges which can cause gut perforations. We advise that careful monitoring during the child’s (or big children’s) playtime and to pick toys up after they have been played with.

Some animals are frightened by loud noises of Christmas crackers or party poppers.  Noiseless ones or make your own crackers are fun alternative options.

If you have any concerns about possible ingestion, call your vets as time can be of essence in some situations.


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